Tailgating: Game-day dishes

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

(Cue “Real Men of Genius” music.) Today we salute you, Mr. Clueless Horrible Buckeye Tailgate Party Thrower; you, who ceaselessly screams O-H! as your scarlet and gray facepaint bleeds onto your Terrelle Pryor jersey from your drunk and sweaty face. Your party is as pathetic as your sagging four-foot-tall inflatable Brutus doll, and your friends are not amused that lunch is convenience-store chips, a pack of “I Can’t Believe They’re Not Hot Dogs!” and something you’re calling “Fickell Dip.” (end music).

Having attended every Buckeye football home game for about two decades, I’ve been subjected to tailgate parties as lame as I’ve described. Believe me, they were as fun as last year’s OSU-Wisconsin nightmare. To avoid such fiascos and instead guarantee all-Big 10 tailgating honors, here are some great DIY catering tips.

12 p.m. kickoff

Noon can sneak up quickly, especially if you’ve participated in anticipatory Buckeye victory celebrations the previous night. So instead of battling the clock and elaborate cooking plans, head to wonderful Weiland’s Gourmet Market for excellent, ready-to-go hot sandwich supplies. Grab a couple pounds of Weiland’s terrific on-site smoked brisket and pulled pork; Ohio-made potato chips (I like Shearer’s and Gold’n Krisp); pre-cooked sides (try Weiland’s great cowboy baked beans and tangy broccoli slaw); spicy Cleveland Stadium mustard; and Weiland’s mini pretzel buns, which actually look like little footballs. Now you’ve got the fixin’s for a dee-licious assembly-line slider lunch.

3:30 p.m. kickoff

These are my favorite games to get my grill on. But don’t settle for crappy hamburger meat and bulk-made weenies — like the Buckeyes, you need to step it up. I recommend buying killer artisanal sausages from Columbus’ old-school hall-of-fame butcher shop called Thurn’s (try their Sweet Italian, Hot Italian and Weisswurst — Vienna-style white frankfurters). For burgers, head to Bluescreek Farms in the North Market for fresh and locally raised (and partially grass-fed) beef.

8 p.m. kickoff

Night games are special, and if you want your tailgate food to follow suit, splurge on Lavash’s amazing combo plate. That beauty will wow your crew with skewers of juicy lamb, beef and chicken kabobs; piles of Lavash’s sensational homemade lamb and chicken shawarma meat; plus first-rate hummus, baba ganoush, rice, pita and salad. For dessert, the insanely great Buckeye Brownie Bottom from next-door bakery Simple Sweets (a dense brownie base layered with dark chocolate cheesecake, peanut butter mousse and chocolate ganache) cannot be beat!

Photos by Jodi Miller

Weiland's Gourmet Market

3600 Indianola Ave., Clintonville

614-267-9878

weilandsgourmetmarket.com

Bluescreek Farms

59 Spruce St., Arena District

614-228-5727

bluescreekfarmmeats.com

Thurn's Specialty Meats

530 Greenlawn Ave., Franklinton

614-443-1449

Lavash Cafe

2985 North High St., Clintonville

614-263-7777

lavashcafe.com

Simple Sweets

2991 N. High St., Clintonville

614-447-9003

simplesweetsshop.com